Gender Equity as a Revolutionary Strategy

Coeducation in Russian and Soviet Schools
  • E. Thomas Ewing


In 1913, Moscow schoolteacher E. Kirpichnikova declared that her coeducational school “does not have the goal of eliminating the difference between the sexes, but instead seeks only to assist the natural development of the positive features of young people of both sexes.” Drawing upon her nearly 20 year effort to increase girls’ access to the schools, Kirpichnikova described how male and female pupils studied and played together. Yet, distinct patterns of behavior were still evident. During recess, boys ran around the courtyard while girls talked in small groups. In class, girls “conscientiously and punctually completed all assignments” yet boys “evaded subjects in which they had no interest.” Recognizing these persistent differences, Kirpichnikova concluded that by allowing pupils to engage in “simple and comradely interactions,” coeducation taught boys and girls to see in each other “not only a man or a woman, but also a human being (ne tol’ko muzhchinu ili zhenshchinu, no i cheloveka)” (Kirpichnikova 1914, pp. 75–88).


Gender Equity Coeducational School Russian Revolution Soviet Society Educational Access 
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© E. Thomas Ewing 2005

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  • E. Thomas Ewing

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